There’s cautious optimism that we could see the opening of at least one brick-and-mortar sportsbook in an Ontario casino in time for the NFL season in September.
Last week, Niagara Casinos posted jobs on LinkedIn for a sportsbook supervisor and sportsbook ambassador. These postings emerged shortly after Greg Yott was promoted to director of sportsbook with the company.
Sports Handle did not receive a reply from Niagara Casinos to a query regarding the potential launch of a sportsbook at one of its properties.
Great Blue Heron Casino in Port Perry, Ontario, which is located just northeast of Toronto, is also advertising to hire a sportsbook operations supervisor, further suggesting the launch of physical sportsbooks is imminent in the province.
“There is a desire to try and have everyone up and running by September, which has always been the agenda that people were shooting for,” Canadian Gaming Association President and CEO Paul Burns, told Sports Handle.
“Some are working hard to try and get there. I understand they’re getting closer to getting agreements in place between OLG and casino operators. I can only hope it’s soon. I think everybody would like to be able to have a sportsbook on their property and offer a sportsbook onsite. Unfortunately, it’s taken too long. I hope they make it,” referring to the September launch goal.
Fallsview Casino Resort and Casino Niagara are both owned by the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation, which is an Ontario government agency that conducts and manages gaming facilities, sales of province-wide lottery games, PlayOLG internet gaming, bingo, and other electronic gaming products at Charitable Gaming Centres.
Since 2019, Mohegan Gaming & Entertainment (MGE), a developer and operator of entertainment resorts in the USA, Canada, and South Korea, has managed the day-to-day operations of the two major Niagara Falls casinos.
Kambi is strengthening its partner network through an agreement with Mohegan Gaming & Entertainment in Ontario.
— Kambi (@KambiSports) May 3, 2022
PlayFallsview already up and running
MGE was the first land-based operator to become licensed with the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario, which was tasked along with iGaming Ontario to develop the legal framework and enforce the standards and guidelines for the province’s new market. After also securing an operating agreement with iGO, PlayFallsview soft-launched last week.
“We’re taking advantage of our Fallsview name, which is arguably the most recognized casino property in Ontario, and really building a product that reflects what Fallsview is — an extension of the property,” Rich Roberts, president of Mohegan Digital, previously told Sports Handle. “Think of this as Fallsview in your pocket. When you leave the casino, you bring the brand with you. And the goal is for the brand to bring you back to the casino,” .
Roberts also sees the two Niagara properties as ideal locations for sportsbooks and esports events. Both properties have a number of theaters and concert halls, and a new 5,000-seat venue could accommodate large esports crowds. Concerts are also frequently hosted at the Avalon Theatre, which has a capacity of 1,500 people.
Built on a cliff overlooking the world-famous Horseshoe Falls, Fallsview Casino Resort is the largest gaming resort facility in Canada. It has over 3,500 slot machines and 130 gaming tables, in addition to a 372-room luxury hotel and over 30,000 square feet of meeting and convention space.
It’s unclear how many casinos in the province are also interested in opening retail sportsbooks, but other logical destinations include Caesars Windsor, Casino Woodbine, and Casino Rama, among others.
Ontario sports bettors have had the ability to place wagers at nearly 10,000 retail OLG PROLINE retail locations at convenience stores, gas bars, grocery stores, and drugstores across the province for almost 30 years. OLG also launched a digital sports betting product, PROLINE +, last August.